Saturday, February 12, 2011

Confession App - Our Digital Dystopia Goes Nuttier

Last night, my lady love and I enjoyed a few hours of quiet, polite, lively and, for me anyway, enchanting communication using words and body language across the table from one another in Bacchanalia Italian Restaurant* in the Heart of Italy neighborhood. This restaurant is a charming time machine that transports diners to a much better time of human interaction and dignity ( BTW -the tucker and the mutuels are outstanding).

Over a brimming platter of antipasti, Chicken Vesuvio for the Elegant Lady and Porterhouse Vesuvio for this trencherman swain, and ala 'Ferme Auberge' salad -after the main course, we spoke to one another. We talked about the work week, Egypt, Wu and Al Swearingen on Deadwood, the incivility of our electronic world - texting teens and adults, robot customer service, endless cellphone usage. Cable television and the internet have buried the morning newspaper readings that once brought fathers and sons together in the race for the box-scores and mothers reading the funnies to toddlers; yet, we lament the breakdown of the American Family.

Early this morning, I was treated to a wonderful article- yes, via the internet - by Philadelphia journalist Christine Flowers on one of the goofiest additions to our Electronic Communications Crap-pile - The Confession APP. Christine Flowers offers a human and delightful introduction to a child's First Confession and the Sacrament of Penance - click my post title for that serene passage.

Here is the caveat against our growing Techno-Dystopia:

. . .I was so deeply offended to hear that someone had created a "Confession" app for the iPad. Patrick Leinen created Confession: A Roman Catholic App to, as he put it, "invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology."

And my response is: Are you kidding me?

Generations of Catholic kids were forced to go to catechism and CCD classes to grasp the solemnity of the sacraments and appreciate their role in our lives.

Sure, a lot of those mini-Catholics have since left the church because it became too onerous for them to practice their faith with honor and respect, but there are enough of us left who think that reducing the relationship between a penitent and his confessor to a button on some handheld gadget is ridiculous, wrong and a slap in the face. (I wonder what would happen if someone came up with a bar mitzvah app, by which you could do interactive Torah readings and register for presents at the exact same time.)

Or maybe we could be treated to, which, with a click of a button, you could convert to Islam (it would of course have to have separate Sunni and Shia versions of the program since you don't want to have to then click on

Not pretty when someone starts playing around with your faith, is it?

Fortunately, the Vatican has come out forcefully against this travesty. As a spokesman in Rome noted, "It is essential to understand that the rites of penance require a personal dialogue between penitents and their confessor. . . It cannot be replaced by a computer application."

Of course it can't. I mean, just imagine if your computer malfunctioned and you downloaded the wrong penance? Eight hundred thousand Our Fathers would be cruel and unusual.

Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer. E-mail She blogs at

Lucifer's Laugh Bag!

I can not imagine how, in the name of Sts. Cyril and Methodius,it would be possible to Confess to an I-Pad the fact that my mere presence, let alone utterance of a syllable, often has an emetic effect on people I love due to my follies and inclinations.

Only the direct communication with one of Christ's ordained priests can I manage to articulate the thoughts, words and deeds that offended others and Christ.

Oh, Yeah! I simply download the APP -You can get the application here:

"OMG I am Heartily sorry . . ." - I detest all my sins & etc.

Hickey's Sin Menu:

Sexual Thoughts = 24 X 365@ 1 per nano second?

Lies = Has anyone seen my Honorary Degrees from Yale, Harvard and Bob's Theological Seminary; I returned your call of 2/11/2011 @ 9:45AM; Let me be perfectly honest . . . & etc.

Anger: See Sexual Thoughts and multiply by a factor of 5

Pride: I have Irish Alzeimer's

Envy: Well my eyes still work!

Sloth: We get graded on Neatness?

Gluttony: Porterhouse Vesuvio!

Let's put away the toys and devices and get back to human contact . . .just a minute . . .let me get this call.

*Bacchanalia Italian Restaurant
2413 South Oakley Avenue
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 254-6555

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